Beyond Measure » T3: Dynamics of Compassion Resilience
San Francisco Zen Center
Four 2-day sessions: September 11-December 5, 2015
with Jennifer Block and Rosalie Curtis
Location: San Francisco Zen Center
Tuition: $1,100.

A compassionate attitude can greatly reduce the distress caregivers feel in difficult situations and can become a profound personal resource in times of stress. This course develops the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and others.  Topics include: contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion, sustainable responses to suffering, self-compassion, and the power of intentional caregiving.

The meditation component of this course is the compassion training program known as the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT).   It was developed by Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s personal translator, in collaboration with educators and psychologists at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). Preliminary research spearheaded by Stanford’s Philippe Goldin suggests that CCT is helpful in reducing ailments such as social anxiety, and that it elevates different measures of compassion.

A team of core and guest faculty offer Buddhist teachings for cultivating compassion and strengthening resilience.  The dynamic curriculum combines face-to-face class interaction with activities to complete one one’s own. This approach makes it easier for people to participate while balancing work and family commitments.

What you’ll learn in this course:
– How to train your mind to intentionally choose compassionate thoughts and actions and develop skills that help you relate to others—and yourself
– Methods to identify and alleviate the causes and symptoms of compassion fatigue
– How the science of compassion illustrates that we can nurture compassion for ourselves, loved ones, strangers – and even perceived enemies
– Skills for practicing of self-compassion to increase our sense of interconnectedness and reduce overwhelm and fatigue

Click here for an article about compassion, why it is good for us and its cultivation.

By engaging in our dynamic curriculum, you will develop skills and authenticity for providing emotional and spiritual support.  Decreased fear, increased understanding, greater compassion and even hope in the face of great suffering.  These yield helpful insights for living as well as develop the healing power of presence for service to people in need.

We welcome family and professional caregivers, people living with illness and aging, and those who are drawn to this work in whatever way is personally meaningful. No previous meditation or caregiving experience is required, although a willingness to practice meditation is required.

Session Themes & Dates:

Intention into Action September 11, 4 to 9pm & September 12, 9am to 6pm
The Science of Compassion October 9, 4 to 9pm & October 10, 9am to 6pm
Self Care & Self-Compassion November 6, 4 to 9pm & November 7, 9am to 6pm
Embracing Our Common Humanity December 4, 4 to 9pm—and—December 5, 9am to 6pm
Tuition: $1,100

Course Components:

  • Four education sessions with lecture, discussion, and experiential learning
  • Supervised instruction in Compassion Cultivation Training
  • Integrative peer and faculty meetings
  • Comprehensive reading curriculum

Faculty: A core faculty of leaders from caregiving institutions and contemplative communities guide the course. Adjunct faculty are healthcare leaders, educators, and scholars. All faculty share a dedication to caring for people who are aging, frail, or approaching the end of life.

  • Jennifer Block is a Buddhist chaplain and educator who has developed education programs for Zen Hospice Project and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. Read more.
  • Rosalie Curtis is a Soto Zen priest who has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1982. She received dharma transmission in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 2011. From 2011-2015, she served as head of practice at SFZC City Center, where she continues to teach.   Read more.
  • Dr. Grace Dammann is a revered physician who was honored by the Dalai Lama for her extraordinary work with AIDS patients during the height of the epidemic and has been a resident of Green Gulch Farm for many decades. A new documentary, States of Grace, reveals how her Zen practice supported her recovery from a debilitating car accident on the Golden Gate Bridge. Read more.

Who Attends: This course is designed for people who presently care for others, or expect to in the future.  It is also useful for those considering working in hospice care.  We welcome participants from a diverse range of backgrounds—from nurses to yoga instructors to lawyers, mothers, clergy, psychologists, etc.  No experience with meditation or Zen are required.

Continuing Education Credit: 30 Continuing Education (CE) credit hours are available for MFTs, LCSWs, psychologists and nurses, for an additional fee of $50.00.  For more information, click here

Accommodations:  Meals are provided for Friday dinner and Saturday lunch.  Participants are responsible for travel arrangements and costs, including airfare and ground transportation.  Overnight Accommodations are not provided, though arrangements can be made to stay overnight at San Francisco Zen Center for an additional fee, click here for more info. There are also several hotels in the area within walking distance.

Enrollment:  An application is required for enrollment. Its purpose is to communicate your readiness and motivation. Unlike a job or college application, you need not worry about having specific skills, degrees, qualifications, etc. Most people are accepted into the program. Those with lives are enriched by other academic studies, extended periods of travel, or major life transitions are advised to carefully consider to their capacity for this time and energy commitment.

We appreciate that some people need support in discerning if this course is appropriate for them.  Calls are welcome: 415-354-0360, and emails as well: rezoffice@sfzc.org.